Jill Vacchina Dobbs, J.D. – Executive Director

The SPCA of Northern Nevada is proud to welcome Jill Vacchina Dobbs, J.D. as our new Executive Director. Jill was born and raised in Reno, NV. She graduated with honors from UC-Santa Barbara, worked in the financial services industry, and graduated cum laude from Gonzaga Law School. After graduation, she moved to Truckee, CA where she primarily practiced transactional and nonprofit law.

For the last 10 years Jill served on the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe’s (HSTT) board of directors, with 6 years as Board President. During that time that animal welfare organization blossomed, increasing adoptions over 200%, with tremendous growth in other program areas as well. She cherished her time with HSTT and considers it a leading organization. She looks forward to applying her skills to help the SPCA continue to grow and improve our Adoption Center operations. She will help the SPCA create innovative programs to address the underlying causes of shelter overpopulation, while unifying our region through a love of companion animals.

Like many Northern Nevadans, Jill is an active outdoor enthusiast. She enjoys hiking, skiing, wakeboarding, swimming, cycling and simply playing. She’s constantly entertained by her son and SPCA-NN rescues, Gracie and Butters. Jill knows she has the greatest job in the world and the SPCA is very lucky to have her at our helm as we strive to make all of northern Nevada a safe and loving community for pets.

“As individuals, we have the ability to affect positive change every day. I get to exploit that ability and work hard every day to advocate and fundraise for homeless pets and work with passion-driven people.”  She has already noticed that at the SPCA “there is a strong commitment to develop a culture adhering to our values: compassion, integrity, respect, excellence, gratitude, creativity, education and collaboration.”

Sean Farnan – Development Director

Sean relocated to the Tahoe Basin in 2009 after 27 years in Southern California. He spent 20 years in the financial services sector, both in the mortgage and insurance industries and in 1998, Sean turned his attention to the non-profit world. He has been the Donor Relations Director for the Community Environmental Council in Santa Barbara, and served as the Executive Director of the Ventura County Junior Golf Association and founded The First Tee Ventura County. After moving to Incline Village, he was the Development and Administrative Director at Lake Tahoe School.

After spending six years working at the Lake Tahoe School, Sean was ready to work with an organization in the city in which he now lives, Reno. He joined the SPCA of Northern Nevada in September of 2015, putting his non-profit fundraising and marketing skills to work as our Development Director.  The timing worked out well and he’s very happy to be here helping to save the lives of abandoned dogs and cats.

Sean was first interested in animal welfare and working for the SPCA of Northern Nevada once he learned that over 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized annually in the United States. He’s had pets all his life, (and is especially a dog lover,) so it was an excellent choice for him to start working toward eliminating this terrible social issue.

Married, and with three boys all under the age of 16, Sean’s family keeps him busy! In his free time (when he finds it) Sean is an avid motorcycle enthusiast and loves to take multi-day camping trips on his motorcycle. He also has two standard poodles, Mellie and Murphy, who are amazing dogs. Sean’s family keeps chickens, too! Sean is married to Kate Carter, a school teacher in Washoe County, and Kate and Mellie (their female poodle), are a therapy dog team that volunteers at Renown, does Paws 4 Passengers at the airport, and participate on the crisis response team for WCSD. He’s very proud of them.

Sean believes working at the SPCA is the best job in the world. Every adoption that takes place here is his favorite story and he knows you can’t buy love, but you can adopt it.


Rena Wells – Finance and  Administration Director

With the SPCA since: November 2011

Rena comes to the SPCA as a long time successful entrepreneur who specialized in the manufacturing, selling and education of dental equipment for equine veterinarians.

Rena’s favorite part about working at the SPCA of Northern Nevada is helping mentor employees to become successful and long term additions to SPCA.

When she’s not saving the lives of homeless pets in our community Rena is creating jewelry, riding her motorcycle and playing Frisbee with her SPCA rescue dog, Harley, which are all some of the great passions Rena enjoys.


Denise Stevens – Director of Operations


SPCA Director of Operations Denise Stevens with rescue puppies

With the SPCA since: October 2017

Denise has worked in animal sheltering for 17 years, and was a shelter operations consultant with Humane Network. She has a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis from the University of Nevada and is the Operations Instructor for the University of the Pacific Animal Management Certificate program.

Denise’s favorite part about working at the SPCA of Northern Nevada is that she feels blessed every day to play a role in life saving.

When she’s not saving the lives of homeless pets in our community, Denise is hiking, enjoying music and reading books.

 Dr. Kristi Whitten – Lead Veterinarian

Dr. Whitten’s has spent most of her veterinary career in Emergency Medicine, as well as some General Family Practice. She has lived in the Reno/Tahoe area for over 16 years and loves the high desert. She graduated Phi Zeta from Oregon State Veterinary School in 1999.

Her favorite part of being at the SPCA is helping so many animals in need, seeing their health improve and then seeing them head out to their new families. She also is grateful to work around so many kind and generous people.

When she is not saving lives of the homeless pets in our community she is swimming, paddle boarding or skiing with her twin daughters.  She also enjoys reading and knitting.  Although she has always had big huge dogs, currently she has only a tiny five pound dog and a black cat that is twice the size of “Tiny”, the dog.  She foresees the addition of a big dog to her family soon.


Dusty Robinson- Animal Care Manager

With the SPCA since: October 2014

 Before coming to the SPCA, Dusty worked with dogs and their owners with obedience training and behavior modification; she has 3 dog training certifications and enjoys helping people create happier pets!

Dusty enjoys working at the SPCA because the best part about her job is the satisfaction she feels when she gets to be a part of making a person’s day better by finding them the perfect dog, and making the dog’s life better because she got to pull them from a life-threatening situation and find them a forever, loving home.

When she’s not saving the lives of homeless pets in our community she is hopefully on top of a mountain somewhere, with her dogs, enjoying the outdoors and connecting with nature.

Mac Wieland – Thrift Store General Manager

With the SPCA since: August 2015

Before joining the SPCA Thrift Store, Mac was a manager with JCPenney for almost 30 years; he attended the University of Nevada, is a past chairman of our local Secret Witness program, and is a tour guide for the Historic Reno Preservation Society, presenting the downtown church tour and the Grand Army of the Republic cemetery tour during ArTown.

Mac loves working at the SPCA Thrift Store because “It is wonderful to have someone find a great deal at the store.  When I had just started, a couple had found a  piece of artwork for around $50.  They sold it for $600 and donated half to the SPCA.  That’s wonderful!”

When he’s not saving the lives of homeless pets in our community, he loves to read – most anything but loves history.  Mac has one cat, Linus, who rules the house, a sweet old dog, Lucy, who loves to eat and sleep, and a younger dog, Cooper, who is in everyone’s business all the time.  Completing the menagerie are 5 Rhode Island Red chickens who are a joy to watch.

Angela Rudolph – Marketing Manager

With the SPCA since: October 2016

Before coming to the SPCA, Angela worked primarily in marketing and education; she is proud to have a BA in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno and a Social Media Marketing Certificate from UNR’s Extended Studies. She is currently enrolled in UNR’s MBA program.

Angela loves working at the SPCA because “I love all the animals we rescue and feel very fortunate to be able to help market them to the public to help them find forever loving homes more quickly.”

When she is not saving the lives of homeless pets in our community you can find Angela on outdoor adventures in and around Lake Tahoe with her dog, Koopa, or with her nose stuck in the latest book for her book club.

Nayla Garcia – Volunteer Manager

Nayla Garcia is the Volunteer and Community Outreach Manager at the SPCA

With the SPCA since: March 2018

Nayla was born and raised in Reno, she has previously worked for Renown/Hometown Health as well as Reno1868. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a double major in International Affairs and Spanish and has been a Volunteer herself at many local nonprofit organizations as well as internationally.

Nayla loves working at the SPCA because “Not only do I love animals but I also love working with nice and enthusiastic people, so I get the best of both worlds here at the SPCA of Northern Nevada!”

When Nayla isn’t saving the lives of homeless pets, she loves to travel and experience new people/places/things. She also just loves to hang out in her hometown, spend time with her family, play soccer, or just cuddle on the couch and watch a good movie.


Teresa Bateman – Programs Coordinator

Teresa is our Programs Coordinator and here she poses with two rescue kittens.

With the SPCA since: January 2018

Teresa moved to Nevada in 2002 from Connecticut. She was a Program Assistant in the mental health field and later moved into other management positions. In 2012 Teresa obtained her Associates degree in Health Care Administration from the University of Phoenix.

Teresa loves working at the SPCA because she gets the opportunity to work with a group of people with a common goal, which is the care and well being of all the animals in and out of the adoption center.

When she is not saving the lives of homeless pets in our community, you can find Teresa spending time with her husband, their 2 kids and all of their fur babies (whether they are hanging out indoors or exploring the outdoors). She also enjoys cooking, baking, camping and going off roading.


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